A fresh start for Slaney

Up­per Is­land Cove for­ward ex­cited about trade

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Robert Slaney says he’s re­ally ex­cited about his lat­est move in hockey.

Two years into his three-year con­tract with Toronto, the 22-year-old Up­per Is­land Cove na­tive was traded to the Nashville Preda­tors from the Toronto Maple Leafs or­ga­ni­za­tion on July 3.

The six-foot-two-inch, 203-pound for­ward was traded to the Preda­tors, along with de­fence­man Brett Lebda in ex­change for Matthew Lom­bardi and Cody Franson.

Slaney said he “needed a change of scenery and I knew I had to get out of Toronto. Toronto was great for me, and they were good to me,” Slaney said, adding, “ but it was time for a new start.”

And he hopes Nashville will give him the fresh start he is look­ing for.

The Preda­tors are tak­ing over the fi­nal year of Slaney’s two-way con­tract, which would see him earn an NHL salary of $600,000, or a mi­nor league salary of $65,000. The Preda­tors’ mi­nor league team is the Mil­wau­kee Ad­mi­rals of the Amer­i­can Hockey League.

— Up­per Is­land Cove’s

Robert Slaney

Slaney is hopeful

Asked if he thinks he will end up play­ing for the Preda­tors, Slaney, who has yet to play a game in the NHL, replied, “I sure hope so.

“Af­ter two years of pro ex­pe­ri­ence, I’d like to make an im­pact and earn my way up the ranks.”

Slaney is spend­ing the sum­mer in St. John’s, where he is train­ing four to five days a week with NHL trainer Bob­ber Thompson. Other than that he said he is just do­ing some golf­ing.

He will be head­ing to NHL train­ing camp in Septem­ber.

Slaney spent most of the last sea­son play­ing for the East Coast Hockey League’s Read­ing Roy­als of Read­ing, Penn­syl­va­nia. He scored seven goals and had 17 as­sists in 61 games with the Roy­als.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Slaney to an en­trylevel con­tract on April 12, 2009.

The left-winger be­came a free agent that year in a sign­ing or­ches­trated by for­mer Maple Leaf staff mem­ber Joe Nieuwendyk.

Slaney was awarded his con­tract af­ter an im­pres­sive sea­son with the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles.

Lead­ing Cape Bre­ton with 81 points in 63 games, he also led in goals with 36. Slaney was hav­ing an im­pres­sive play­off be­fore be­ing in­jured. He scored five goals and had four as­sists in six play­off games.

In 239 ca­reer games with Cape Bre­ton from 2005 to 2009, Slaney tal­lied 78 goals and 90 as­sists for a to­tal of 168 points. In 2007-08, the suc­cess­ful Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity busi­ness stu­dent was named the Cana­dian Hockey League’s player of the year. He was also named the Scream­ing Ea­gles reg­u­lar sea­son scor­ing champ and won the fans’ choice award.

Dur­ing the 2009-10 sea­son, Slaney di­vided his time be­tween the Toronto Mar­lies of the AHL and the Read­ing Roy­als.

Un­able to im­press Leafs’ brass in 34 games with the Mar­lies, he would reg­is­ter six as­sists be­fore be­ing sent down to Read­ing, where he would score a goal and record 10 as­sists in 22 matches with that ECHL club.

Slaney, who be­came el­i­gi­ble for draft in 2007, has been de­scribed by the Hockey Fo­rum as, “a char­ac­ter for­ward with good size, who dis­plays strong puck pos­ses­sion skills. His big body is able to shield the puck ef­fi­ciently and open up space for team­mates. He leads by ex­am­ple with a strong work ethic and is a team player.”

The son of Edith and Val Slaney of Up­per Is­land Cove, Robert started play­ing hockey when he was three, and played CeeBees mi­nor hockey in Har­bour Grace be­fore mov­ing to play and study on the main­land.

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